Every sales scenario goes through a sales cycle which essentially guides the interaction from initial meeting to eventually closing the sale. Although there are various kinds of sale, the psychological sales cycle is the same for every sales person out there. Understanding the sales cycle from a psychological standpoint will help make you a better salesperson.
The first step is to have a strong opening. So many assumptions are made in those first few seconds and if you get that initial section wrong then it is uphill from there. Knowing what to say without sounding too scripted is important, but you don’t want to come across as too slick or you will turn your prospects off. Your opening may be on the phone during a cold call, at a networking meeting or at the beginning of a sales pitch.
Assuming you get that right, you need to connect and develop rapport with the person you are selling too. In order to make any sale, there has to be an element of trust between you and the buyer. Body language can help develop very superficial levels of rapport, but those who are excellent at developing rapport focus on asking questions around the prospect’s values and driving factors. Ask your prospect why they are interested in buying from you and think about what you have in common with those values.
After that, you need to help your client understand what decision to make by educating them. Nobody wants to be backed into a corner in a sales situation, so help educate your customer so that they feel they are making the best decision for them. If you educate them in a pre-determined direction, it just also happens to be your product or service they end up buying.
People may know what to do, but if they aren’t motivated then they will never take action. Motivating is an important element of selling and understanding the motivational factors of your prospect will help with this. What are the driving forces behind this potential purchase.
Finally, even if you have a motivated and educated prospect, you still have to get them to commit to taking action. This is the close which every sales person dreads, but if you have done the rest of the elements in the sales cycle then this should be as easy as suggesting the next step. However, for many sales people, this section still holds the most tension as this is where they are most likely to face rejection. However, if you never ask for the deal you will never make a sale.
Whether you work in retail or business-to-business, with short or long buying cycles, you will go through this sales cycle. Your job is to learn tools and sales techniques that can help you improve every step of the way.